How do I get a new website to rank for a local business? [Conductor Q&A]

This Q&A series is designed to help new SEOs get started. The questions come from the young SEO professionals at the nonprofit Revision Ventures, and the answers come from you, experts in the digital marketing community.

 In this post, Alex Roitman of 2U explains how to get a new website to rank for a local business.


Hi Alex,

Say you begin working with a service business that is geared towards a particular area, like a personal trainer or catering business, and their new website has no ranking or authority. What would be the best first step to helping push the business off the ground and start getting them noticed in search engines?



Hey Sherelle,

That’s a great question. Many businesses can’t invest the time or energy to deploy multiple tactics and put their new website at the top of search engines. Business owners need to prioritize what will give them the best ROI, not just what will get their new website to rank. That means changing your paradigm.

 Business owners need to prioritize what will give them the best ROI, not just what will get their new website to rank. That means changing your paradigm.

Your company website rankings don’t matter, your overall visibility does.

I wouldn’t start with building a new website’s authority or ranking, but building a web-presence. This can be a tough sell to small clients that want their new website to “rank” well, but those in competitive spaces with limited resources often don’t have the assets to organize a large link-building campaign. Therefore, you’ll have to find the placements that will give you more visibility in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

These are the off-site properties that I would optimize first. Let’s look at this search: “BBQ in NYC

local business ranking in serp

Set Up Your Google Business Page

There are a number of similarities between the top restaurants in the Local Pack:

  • They have set up Google My Business (Places/Pages/Plus).
    • The top sites have hundreds of high rated-reviews. Allow your customers to help you succeed!
    • Google Plus pages are verified, and have a wealth of information filled out including:
      • Hours
      • Menus
      • Off-site reviews

Connect with Thought Leaders

It’s also important to see who else are high ranking in your vertical: Many local publishers (or the local branch) create guides, best-of’s, and top 10 articles about an array of businesses.

It is exceedingly difficult to compete with these publishers on high-traffic, non-branded keywords. This makes it more and more vital to connect with authors and thought-leaders who have high-visibility in your space.

Bonus: Often a third-party will give more credibility to your business.

Encourage Yelp Reviews

Finally at the bottom of the search results page you can see there are two Yelp results:

local business ranking in yelp search results

On Yelp, It’s important to not only fill out your page and encourage reviews, but also important to interact with discussions and lists in your niche.

You don’t need the best website or the most links to bring in customers from Google. You need visibility. Often by connecting with publishers and using tools from the big guys, you can achieve the same goals and ranking number one.

Revision Ventures educates young people from urban areas in SEO, and directly employs those students to SEO local business websites, providing marketing for small businesses and jobs for young people.

Get in touch with us if you’d like help with our Q&A series by addressing a question from the young SEO professionals of Revision Ventures.

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